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Papers of the Week

Papers: 3 Oct 2020 - 9 Oct 2020

Human Studies

2020 Oct 06

J Physiol Sci



Electrophysiological investigation of the contribution of attention to altered pain inhibition processes in patients with irritable bowel syndrome.


Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a functional gastrointestinal disorder associated with chronic abdominal pain and altered pain processing. The aim of this study was to examine whether attentional processes contribute to altered pain inhibition processes in patients with IBS. Nine female patients with IBS and nine age-/sex-matched controls were included in a pain inhibition paradigm using counter-stimulation and distraction with electroencephalography. Patients with IBS showed no inhibition of pain-related brain activity by heterotopic noxious counter-stimulation (HNCS) or selective attention. In the control group, HNCS and selective attention decreased the N100, P260 and high-gamma oscillation power. In addition, pain-related high-gamma power in sensorimotor, anterior cingulate and left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex was decreased by HNCS and selective attention in the control group, but not in patients with IBS. These results indicate that the central pain inhibition deficit in IBS reflects interactions between several brain processes related to pain and attention.